The winning streak continued for Lesley University’s Women’s Soccer Team this year: the team won its fourth straight NECC championship and appeared in its fourth straight NCAA tournament. And although the 2015 season did not end the way the team hoped, there were still many reasons to be optimistic.
This year’s team saw a lot of challenges– for one thing, there were eleven new first year athletes added to the roster. In addition to new players learning their role, there were other obstacles to overcome, such as injuries to a few starting upperclassmen. And the challenging start to the season only increased when the team received a daunting schedule for preseason. Never before had the women’s team tackled a more difficult or demanding schedule—facing off against highly ranked teams such as Tufts, MIT, Brandeis, and Wellesley.
The women’s soccer team began with a preseason win against Tufts University in overtime, which was a positive start. Despite the injuries and the new players, this was a team determined to succeed. Co-captain Bella Vidaña explained that “the leadership and chemistry of this year’s team was what fueled our success. Underclassmen stepped up and the seniors led by example. The hard work, passion, and effort we put into each game this year led us to our fourth straight NECC championship and our fourth straight NCAA appearance.” In the long run, the adversity at the beginning of preseason helped the team persevere, and led them to a successful conference league.
In conference play, the Lynx went 9-0, tallying zero losses and only one goal against. In the semi-finals, the team faced off against Becker College and won the game with a score of 7-0. In the NECC championship, the Lesley University’s Women’s Team battled Elms, and came away with a victory– the final score was 1-0. That win for Lesley’s Women’s Soccer Team was a huge victory for the program and the coaching staff. Co-captain Haley Wirth noted, “We had a good season for our young team. Each year the conference gets better and there is more pressure on us to keep succeeding and winning championships. It was a great win to obtain our fourth straight NECC championship. All the girls worked very hard this season for it and the hard work paid off.”
It was the fourth straight conference title and the fifth title in Lesley’s Women’s Soccer Team history. Hayley Wirth was named the NECC tournament Most Valuable Player, along with NECC All-Conference Team players named Samantha Bessey, Jennifer Collins, Julie Essick, Jordan Mitchell, and Hayley Wirth. Coach Paul Vasconcelos was also voted the Coach of the Year in the NECC. Looking back on what the team achieved against difficult odds, Co-Captain Bella Vidaña also added, “I can’t wait to see where the future of this team goes; I am so proud to have been able to lead this team next to my co-captain Hayley, along with the other seniors on this team.”
Winning an automatic bid to the NCAA championship, Lesley University Women’s Soccer Team faced off against #14 Stevens Institute of Technology in the first round. Unfortunately, that is where the season took a disappointing turn. The Lynx lost to the Ducks in a game played in Hoboken, New Jersey. But despite losing in the championship, there is no denying what this team achieved. The Lynx are hungry for the next season and have their eyes on another trip to the NCAA, hoping to get further next time. The Lesley University Women’s Soccer Team has a lot to be proud of– a successful 2015 season, and the promise of an even better year coming up.